The US is unique in allowing its legislature to default on obligations Congress authorized in the first place. No one would put up with this childishness, except that it sounds like a path to fiscal responsibility, even though it threatens disaster for our nation and pain for the world. This time, a healthy outcome is possible. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has used this moment as a tool to reorient the Republican Party. President Biden, in turn, has a chance to propose a once and for all showdown on the debt limit extortion tactic.
Threatening to vote against a raise of the debt limit does not reduce the debt, it just means that the country could not pay the bills it has. Therefore, the threat is usually made only by the more irresponsible Members of the House.
Kevin McCarthy has changed that. Somehow, he has persuaded the most extreme of House members to drop their most incendiary demands, and join the Republican majority in pressing for severe changes in spending. Republicans preach fiscal restraint, but for decades now they have exceeded the Democrats in deficit spending. If McCarthy can reunite Republicans on fiscal policy, he can afford to lose on this vote, and still be a winner.
On the other side, Biden should propose a bill to eliminate Congressional power to default. The law should not exist, and repeal would be a principled place to stand.
The repeal bill would not pass right now, but proposing such a heavy solution would make it easier for both sides to accept a compromise today. Tomorrow, repeal would be an issue for debate, and the nation would get a better Republican Party than it has had for many years.